Reputation make or break
The Green Deal is an exciting opportunity for energy companies. From a business point of view, it opens up new markets, allowing them to sell and instal energy saving household products as well as supply gas and electricity.
There should be reputational benefits too. Utilities could become job creators, which will play well with shareholders and the public against the backdrop of a stagnant economy. Selling new products and managing people’s loans should open up new channels of communication between customers and companies. This could lead to the rebuilding of consumer trust in the industry and help forge a new, stronger relationship between the two parties.
The Energy Company Obligation (Eco), which will cost the industry around £1.3 billion a year, will be higher profile than previous social obligations and part of a broader energy efficiency narrative. That should allow utilities to garner credit from the resulting feel-good public relations story.
There is a flip-side to this optimistic view of the Green Deal. In fact, the possibilities for reputational damage are many, making the initiative a potential minefield for utilities.
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